In a few weeks, our car is seven years old. Happy Birthday car!
However folks, it is not your ordinary internal combustion engine car, but a hybrid/electric car. Just one of those crazy, unthought through decisions one made in the very early years of greening.
If you have read the free eBook, “The Greening of Gavin“, you would no doubt have read about how I came to lease this car only a week or two after my green epiphany. It was a huge statement of sorts that I was serious about greening my lifestyle, however in hindsight, I probably would not have rushed into such a purchase, and just lowered car usage instead.
So, now that I own the Honda Civic Hybrid (2006), and have driven it for just shy of seven years, what is the verdict? How has it performed? Did anything major go wrong with it? Would I buy another hybrid?
On average I get about 5.2 litres per 100km, just under 800km to a 40 litre tank refill. The petrol tank holds 50 litres, but I have never chanced my luck, and always filled it as soon as the warning light appeared on the dash. So the fuel economy is very good. That means that technically, for just $60 of fuel (current price $1.60 per litre), I could drive from Melton to Adelaide, or to Sydney if I chose to. With a full carload, it would be cheaper than flying and take around 7 hours. A lot less greenhouse gas emissions as well, even compared to a normal family sedan or SUV. I also offset the small amount of GHG emissions via GreenFleet. It make a whole lot of sense to me.
Well, I would love to say that nothing went wrong, but I can’t, because it did. The Hybrid Battery failed. However this only occurred during the last two weeks, and thankfully was covered by a warranty. My local Honda dealership diagnosed the fault, and ordered in the new Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) battery pack at no cost to me.
It doesn’t look like much, just a metal box with lots of Nickel Metal Hydrate cells packed into it. The dealership told me that it would be sent back to Japan to be recycled into a new battery pack. At least it wasn’t going to landfill.
Fortunately, the hybrid battery has been the only fault for the entire 7 years with just over 98,500 km travelled. The battery fault did not put a dampener on my ownership, and it was picked up early as I ensure the car is serviced as per the plan.
However, I would highly recommend that if you do purchase a hybrid or even an electric car for that matter, ensure you fully understand the warranty period for the battery bank to understand possible replacement costs if you intend on owning the vehicle for a long time.
Would I buy another hybrid?
Maybe, as hybrid technology has advanced in the seven years since I bought mine. On the other hand, probably not. If forced to purchase a replacement for the one I already own, I would probably buy an electric car if it was not too expensive (but they currently are). I want to break reliance on fossil fuels with my next purchase. I could charge it very cheaply from my solar PV system, but would have to add a few more panels to balance the costs.
Alternatively, and it depends on Kim’s health, I would love to get rid of reliance on cars altogether. Yes, no car ownership would be my ultimate dream. Maybe if I had a Flintstone car, we would still get around!
Better still, Ben and I are still riding our bikes, so with more practice, and a trailer, it could be a viable alternative.
Anyway, that is my experience of owning a hybrid car. With cheap fuel bills, and low emissions, what is not to like about a hybrid (besides the battery fault)?
What do you think? Would you buy or have already bought this type of car? What is your experience?